Next, I will acquaint you with the various Clans of the Crow and Warrior Societies. Ranging in the time of the late 1800's to mid 1900's. I hope that this will be as interesting for you as it is for me!
There were two major Bands of the Crow, there was the River Crow and the Mountain Crow which was the main body. In the summer months these two bands lived apart, but, come the winter moons the River Crow would once again join the Mountain Band. Contained in these were many Clans. In the old days virtually every man belonged to a club or clan (araxu`a`tse) In 1870 the Lumpwoods and Foxes were the main clans and were considered rivals, although the Big Dogs and Muddy Hands were still active. None of these were religious, but, their activities were social and military. Every club had its own regalia, dance, decoration and distinctive behaviors. These members were pledged to be exceptionally brave and were set apart from the ordinary by honorific standards.
In 1833 there were roughly 8 of these clubs consisting of the Bulls, Prairie-foxes, Ravens, Half-shaved Heads, Lumpwoods, Stone Hammers, Little Dogs and Big Dogs. But by 1870 these clubs were dwindling leaving the Lumpwoods and Foxes as the main clubs. The foxes being at a lesser number than the Lumpwoods. The Hidatsa introducing the Hot and Crazy Dog Dances in about 1875 led to two relative organizations. The Crazy Dog dance of course reached the River Crow first and then spread to the Main Body.
The Crazy Dog dance in spreading to the Main Body took on a different character. The Hot Dance led to the beginnings of 4 different societies which slowly and eventually took the place of the older established clubs, which were in existence into the early 1900's.
Among the Crow all members belonged to a Clan and all children became members of their Mothers Clan. There were as many as thirteen different Clans and all members of a Clan shared the same distant Ancestor. They all had distinctive names such as The Sore-Lip, Without-shooting-they-bring-game and The Greasy-inside-the-mouth Clans among others. Older members were in charge of the teaching of the children and Clan members also cooperated with each other on hunts.
Along with being a member of a Clan, most men were part of Warrior Societies as I have prviously mentioned. The leaders of these Societies were chosen because of their exploits and honors in battle. This they did by leading successful raids against Crow enemies, by taking horses and weapons from within an enemies camp. Along with this an important thing was counting coup, when a Warrior got close to an enemy he would tap him with a coup stick without hurting him. Among all tribes of the Plains this was considered to show more bravery than actually killing the enemy. There was not one single leader of the Crow, but there were those who by accomplishing more in battle, had more authority than others. The Bands of the Crow functioned separately, but, if Crow land was threatened they would all come together in defense.
The Crow had both allies and enemies among all the other tribes, the Hidatsa, Mandan and Nez Perce were among their greatest allies and at times traded with the Shoshone and Blackfoot.
From time to time the Crow because of the vast territory they claimed fought with the Sioux, Cheyenne, Dakota, Shoshone and Blackfoot!
On the first day of the sun dance as the sun breaks over the horizon, the sponsor enters the lodge and begins his fast, which is in appreciation of past favors by the Great Spirit. Inside the lodge are a buffalo head and eagle feathers, which are symbols of all the animals and birds that live on the great plains and in the Rocky Mountains. The sponsor is barefoot and is uncovered above the waist. His face is painted with white, red, or yellow clay. The color of the paint, the application, and the symbols are handed down from generation to generation by each clan.